Alessandro De Magistris
Politecnico di Milano – Scuola di Architettura e Società


The discourse on realism in contemporary architectural debate seems to circumvent the complexity of the historical roots of this phenomenon in the twentieth century architecture and, in particular, the discourse on socialist realism: a source of many perspectives gravitating around the idea of realism in postwar period and constituting a significant moment in the theoretical debate and design practice between the thirties and the fifties, until the death of Stalin.
The aim of this article is to propose an articulated reflection on the experience of socrealism, explored in its “formative” years, in the crucial phase of its elaboration. Far from being the result of a rigid, top-down theoretical determination, realism was defined in a pragmatic way, on many worksites of design practice and theory. The eclecticism and plurality of its expressions, gravitating around the idea of critical assimilation of history, explains the developments of the socrealism between war and post-war in The USSR and in eastern European countries and finds its clearest statement in the Moscow metro.

socialist realism, eclecticism, planning tradition and (genplan rekonstrukci / general plan of Moscow), Moscow metro, synthesis of arts, post-constructivism



SAJ Vol. 6, 2014, No. 2